Gawker Senior Gay Affairs Correspondent J.K. Trotter is a man who knows a big story when he sees one and he’s never anything less than relentless in the pursuit of it. He’s the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who broke bombshell after bombshell in the landmark Shepard Smith-Is-Gay-I-Just-Know-It scandal, even stalking his quarry to a private Manhattan event in an effort to confront him and get him to admit the truth. Admittedly, his biggest scoop of all, which involved claims that Fox News had demanded that Shep not come out publicly,fell apart and made him the subject of a shitload of entertaining mockery, but like any good reporter he remains undaunted. I say this because his big headline right now over at Gawker is “James Franco Is Living With a Man.”
Trotter points to a recent New York Times profile which quietly suggests that James Franco is sharing a Brooklyn apartment with actor Scott Haze, the star of his new directorial effort, Child of God. It was apparently Gawker alum Choire Sicha who fired off the first tweet questioning whether the Times really did just out Franco, but of course Trotter picked it up and ran with it, reading between the lines of the Jacob Bernstein article, sniffing out all the potential evidence that it’s saying what he thinks it’s saying, and slapping a big old “shocker” of a headline on it.
Now let’s be clear: Even other members of the Times staff agree that the paper seems to have slyly talked around the obvious in its profile of Franco, dropping just enough hints to not be on the hook for outing the actor-director but still getting the point across. There’s a story there, in how journalistic organizations find ways to tap-dance about a person’s sexual orientation while making sure that sexual orientation is made clear in the piece. But that’s not what Trotter concentrated on here. (And the possibility that Franco is hinting at being gay as a form of provocation, which would also be a story, gets one line.) He mentions it offhandedly at the end of his post, but for well over three-fourths of the thing it reads like nothing but tee-hee-hee-squeeeeeal OMG James Franco is so gay.
Jesus, I really thought we were past this shit. Look, one more time for the cheap seats: being gay isn’t a story anymore. Unless you’re some asshole on Capitol Hill pretending to be straight because Jesus demands it of us all, and you’re making gay people’s lives worse through draconian policy-making, your sexual orientation just doesn’t matter. It isn’t something any real journalist should consider reportable simply on its own. It isn’t a “scoop.” It isn’t 1980 anymore. Enough already.
Update: Last time around, it was Shepard Smith who called Trotter’s article about him “horseshit.” This time, Franco is flat-out calling the story on him“homophobic.”